Clifford Lamb: One (2011)
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It's a pleasure to discover a jazz performer. whose style is unique. Pianist Clifford Lamb is in this category as he displays in One.
Hailing from Oakland, California, he has put together San Francisco Bay area musicians, Darrell Green on drums and Ron Belcher, bass, who help considerably to bring out his individualistic touch. In most numbers, he takes the familiar and creates something out of the ordinary.
The opener, Miles Davis' classic "All Blues," for example, features a meditative, mesmerizing duo with Belcher. It starts with the bass playing the well known melodic riff in the background and Lamb improvising over it. He is quoted as saying that he imagines Davis suspended in the universe, his life on earth spent: "The bowed single note [played at the end] is like an infinite and unchanging sound contrasted by the piano restlessly yet slowly moving in contrast..." a lofty but appropriate description.
Lamb began taking lessons at an early age with classical music the objective. Later he switched to jazz and has played with Larry Gales, John Patitucci, and Carl Burnette. Currently he teaches jazz and classical music, playing occasional local gigs.
.Among his influences, he cites Herbie Hancock for his use of classical techniques and open harmonies. On this recording he also seems linked to the innovative Fred Hersch, from the current scene, and Bill Evans, the wellspring of inventive interpretation.
Highlights include the Comden/Green standard, "Just in Time," which starts with an infectious start/stop pattern before drummer Green comes in impressively. In "A Portrait of Eleanor Rigby," the Beatles' story of a woman's loneliness is given a cubist stroke, a Picassoesque fragmentation of the well known melody .
Thelonious Monk's "Well You Needn't" shows off Lamb's creativity, unaccompanied. It starts with a seeming search for the melody. As on "Rigby," he gives bits and pieces. Finally, with a witty bridge from Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," the refrain comes across fully.
This CD was given a limited "test" release in 2008 and was reportedly played by over 22 stations internationally. Lamb says that with this he is giving One a "more comprehensive and concerted release" For those who want quiet, reflective time with music, this is certainly worth a listen.
Track Listing: All Blues; Just In Time; People; Red and Blue; A Potrait of Eleanor Rigby; Fotographia; Well You Needn't; Baby Plum.
Personnel: Clifford Lamb: piano; Ron Belcher: bass; Darell Green: drums; Kenny Hawkins: flute (8).
Record Label: Self Produced